Japan's KAO to buy UK's Molton Brown to grow abroad


Bloomberg.com – 07/15/2005
By Hiroshi Suzuki in Tokyo at Hsuzuki@bloomberg.net

Kao Corp., Japan's largest household-goods maker, agreed to buy Molton Brown Ltd., a U.K. maker of cosmetics and luxury consumer products, for 170 million pounds ($299 million) to boost sales abroad.

Kao will repay Molton Brown's debt when it buys the company from London-based buyout firm Bridgepoint Capital, according to a statement released today. Molton Brown, whose products include $44 skin creams, is expected to continue to operate as a standalone business within Kao's prestige cosmetics division.

Bridgepoint is selling Molton Brown two years after investing 28 million pounds to buy a 60 percent stake in the business. The firm had owned a minority stake in the company since 1994.

Molton Brown was advised by N M Rothschild & Sons, Michel Dyens & Co. and Travers Smith Braithwaite.

Michel Dyens